For the last 24 summers, Meltdown festival has allowed the Southbank Centre to hand over its programming calendar to a class of people hardly famed for their organisational skills – musicians. Luckily the impressive list of Meltdown curators (including David Bowie, John Peel and Yoko Ono) have always pulled through, making the festival an annual cultural highlight of the city. M.I.A. is curator of this year’s Meltdown (June 9-18).
The fearless singer and artist had promised to ‘redefine the concept of a melting pot’ with the programming of this year’s festival. So, unlike previous years where household names like Radiohead, Nina Simone and Grace Jones took the focus, the line-up for 2017 is temptingly underground. And young. And global. From the scorch of Parisian afro-trap star MHD to the whiplash of pioneering Californian queer rapper Mykki Blanco, Meltdown 2017 looks set to be a winner.
Here's five reasons why M.I.A. is a perfect fit for the role.